OSHA: Most work-related deaths preventable

Posted at 9:55 PM, Apr 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-30 23:55:00-04

In the past year, those with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have investigated ten work place-related fatalities in Idaho.

These accidents can happen in any industry or trade and, in most cases, OSHA investigators say they could have been prevented.

Francisca Gomez, 64, was looking forward to retirement. However in January, the longtime Crookham Seed Company employee died in an accident when her hair got in a drive-line machine.

The Caldwell accident is just one such work-related incident in the last 12 months in Idaho that could have been prevented.

"This is somebody's mother and wife and grandmother and she meant a lot to all of us," said Elena Gomez, Francisca's daughter.

The Gomez family members urge employers to be proactive.

"Hire someone and let them tell you that you're being safe. It doesn't cost you any more to hire an independent company to come in and inspect your equipment," Elena Gomez said. "It'll save somebody's life. It could have saved my mother's life."

At the Idaho Fallen Firefighters Memorial, a ceremony was held Saturday to honor the lives of those lost in work-related accidents and also to inspire a renewed commitment in ensuring safe work environments for all.

Elena Gomez felt honored to be invited to the ceremony. It made her feel like her mother will not be forgotten.

After an OSHA investigation, the Caldwell seed company was issued a citation.

Enforcement is not all the agency does. They also have an outreach service to provide small businesses with expertise to ensure their work place is safe.

Every year in the U.S., over 4,500 workers lose their life due to a work place injury.

"You mourn the people who lost their lives but the families that they leave behind to pick up the pieces and how it effects them and their communities, it is the ultimate tragedy," said David Kearns, OSHA Boise area director. "We need leaders in the community, we need employers to give back to the community and make this a priority."